Blockchain

Russian Opposition use blockchain-powered voting app to challenge Putin’s inauguration

  • On May 10th, Russian Opposition will launch a referendum asserting the illegitimacy of the Russian elections
  • The vote will be hosted on Russia2024, an app that enables Russians to protest without being traced
  • Russia2024 deploys Rarimo’s Freedom Tool, an anti-surveillance voting solution that uses blockchain and zero-knowledge cryptography

London, May 10th – On Friday May 10th, three days after Putin’s inauguration, opposition activist and former Pussy Riot lawyer Mark Fegyin will launch a referendum challenging the legitimacy of the Russian elections. Citizens will be invited to cast votes declaring whether the results are illegitimate or not.

The referendum will be the first protest vote to go live on Russia2024. The app was built using Rarimo’s Freedom Tool, a surveillance-free voting solution. Freedom Tool leverages blockchain and zero-knowledge cryptography to ensure citizens can poll, vote and protest without being tracked.

Russia2024 is one of the only remaining outlets in Russia for citizens to voice dissent. It was launched in March, and has been publicly stress-tested via audits and white hackers for two months.

Mark Feygin, Russia2024 leader, opposition activist, and former Pussy Riot lawyer says: “Dissent in Russia is growing more risky and public opinion harder to track. It is critical that we provide reliable, surveillance-proof avenues for protest and polling. Russia2024 and its underlying technology has enabled that.”

Lasha Antadze, co-founder of Rarimo provider Rarilabs says: “Freedom Tool was built to help give a voice to people living in regimes. Its implementation in Russia is an early example of how blockchain and zero-knowledge cryptography can meet the urgent need around the world for privacy technology.”

How the Tech behind Russia2024 works

With Russia2024, and all other Freedom Tool supported-applications, users prove their citizenship, and therefore, their eligibility to vote, by scanning their biometric passports with their phones. The data on the biometric chip inside the passport is verified, and upon confirming authenticity, an anonymous voting pass for polls and protest elections is issued.

Zero-knowledge cryptography severs any link between the pass and passport data, and votes are published directly onto the blockchain where they are tamper-proof.

This solves a long-standing technical challenge: how to prove voter eligibility while also preserving anonymity.

Freedom Tool is open-source and license-free. Anyone in any part of the world can use it to build voting apps that are immune to interference and act as safe outlets for citizens to express dissent.

RariLabs is based in Kyiv, and the team built Freedom Tool during the war. Key contributions were made by activist developers working anonymously from inside regimes around the world.

A full technical description can be found in the White Paper. A more accessible summary can be read here.

The Kremlin’s response

Following Feygin’s announcement of Russia2024 in March, the Kremlin attempted to obstruct the app by filing against it. This saw the app temporarily removed from the Apple store.

The Kremlin then attempted to tank Russia2024’s rating by paying state-sponsored reviewing to leave negative reviews. This strategy was, however, exposed by a whistleblower who reached out to express support for the app.

Additional Resources

Feygin’s Russia2024 announcement broadcast can be watched here, and Rarimo’s summary of the app’s release, its stress testing, and the protocol’s broader vision can be read here.

Mark Feygin and Freedom Tool co-founder Lasha Antadze are both available for interview.

Rarimo

Rarimo is a privacy-first social protocol. It unlocks a new generation of incognito social apps.

Rarilabs

Rarilabs raised $10 million at a $100 million valuation led by Pantera to advance Rarimo.

Media enquiries

Kitty Horlick

Director, Rarilabs

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